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Interim Pursuit Rules Needed

Interim Pursuit Rules Needed

Media release CANDOR Trust

The Candor Trust is peeved the ongoing investigations into Police chase policy haven't seen interim safety measures put in place. "On the heels of an Auckland schoolboy being bowled on a crossing, even more apparently reckless driving in suburban Christchurch has resulted in civilian casualties. It's beyond the pale", says Spokeswoman Rachael Ford.

Police staff have no business speeding and crashing reds, particularly not if chases are commenced over trivial offences which is the norm. Most chases do not get triggered by axe murderers, and high speed pursuits in such cases are well evidenced to make any present hazard immeasurably worse.

"It appears the increased road police presence (by 114) may actually be becoming counter-productivein New Zealand due to the resource not being tightly managed". An increased surveillance and checkpoint culture, with Police targets for traffic convictions rising by 915 per year by 2010  (Effective Interventions Cabinet Paper 3) may explain the massive rise in chases by over 50% in the last 3 years.

The "Road Safety Observatory" journal of the European Commission explained in January 2007 that a "Police performance management" framework for road safety is in place in NZ for cost efficiency. The "productivity measures" are offences delivered per hour for speed, and drink driving. Pressure is on Police to get their man - dead or alive.

The Duignan report lately found little to no link between the numbers of these offences processed and any road safety gains since 1996. Candor sees a possible link between the delivery quotas, bad chase policy with (apparently) neither upper speed limits nor chase free zones eg around schools, and unneeded road trauma.

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The presence of methamphetamine in offender populations is acknowledged as now making chases an even worse proposition, by the Australasian Police college, though some Police see prospects of locating a "stash" as a pursuit

carrot. Putting the P into the "to chase or not to" equation (as incentive or impairing agent) disregards Public safety.

The latest example of Police not setting a good road safety example suggests their brief driving courses fails to make them aware speeding through reds in urban traffic will make fatalities likely. Side impacts at speeds above 50 k/ph are poorly survivable.

Police who've come through their training have lately expressed to NZ trainers that they lack of confidence for pursuits due to their inadequate hours. It is nigh time the Police begin to take road safety seriously. Collateral harm to civilians at current levels, wrought entirely by a wild west chase culture, is beyond acceptable bounds.

Many U.S. States have lately adopted restrictive chase policies (such as our situation warrants) with great benefits seen. In consequence to a tight new chase policy, Toronto recorded no deaths or injuries to Officers, suspects or third parties from chases in 2006. New Zealand has a long way to go until it's citizens can enjoy comparable safety.

Ends

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